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XPacArmy
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Since: 13.5.03
From: Woodbridge, VA

Since last post: 380 days
Last activity: 377 days
#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.93
"ABC to Continue John Ritter's Sitcom
By LYNN ELBER
AP Television Writer

ABC executives have decided that the show must go on and will continue production of "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter" despite the death of star John Ritter.

Network officials said Tuesday that the sitcom will show the TV family coping with his character's loss.

"Everybody recognizes that John loved that show. ... He'd have wanted the show to continue," Lloyd Braun, chairman of ABC Entertainment Television Group, told a telephone news conference Tuesday.

Braun and ABC Entertainment President Susan Lyne said the sitcom will premier next Tuesday as planned and that the network will air the three episodes Ritter filmed before his death last week.

After that, the series co-starring Katey Sagal will go into repeats while writers retool it and production starts. No date was given for when the show will return to the air.

Ritter, making a TV series comeback 25 years after he starred in "Three's Company," became ill on the "8 Simple Rules" set and died last Thursday of an undetected heart problem. He was 54.

It hasn't been decided if the death of Ritter's character, Paul Hennessy, will mirror what happened to the actor, ABC executives said.

Ritter's series, which debuted last year with solid ratings, was considered a key part of ABC's comeback effort and anchored its Tuesday night lineup of family comedies.

ABC knows it is facing a difficult task, rebuilding a comedy on a death and especially that of the series' star, network executives acknowledged.

"We're going to take it an episode at a time," Lyne said. While the idea of recasting Ritter's role was quickly rejected, new characters will be added at some point, the ABC executives said.

Although Braun lauded Sagal as a "fantastic actress" capable of taking on a greater role in the series, he said it would become more of an ensemble production.

Ritter's widow, actress Amy Yasbeck, and the series' cast and producers supported the decision to keep going, Braun said. An ABC News tribute to Ritter was to air Tuesday night.

A similar episode in television history came when comic Redd Foxx died in 1991, after making seven episodes of his comeback series on CBS, "The Royal Family." The show returned without him six months after his death, but lasted only a few episodes.

Comedian Freddie Prinze, star of "Chico and the Man," committed suicide in 1977 in the third year of the popular NBC sitcom. The network cast a new younger Chico but the show was gone in a year.

The rarity of such occurrences makes it difficult to predict how "8 Simple Rules" will fare, Braun said. "I think it will be a show we'll be proud to put on," he said.

Each of the first three episodes already shot will start with a special introduction, featuring the cast members. The next new show will deal with Paul Hennessy's death.

"Future episodes will take viewers into the Hennessy household as they experience the loss of a father and construct a new life together," said Braun. "We will play out the situation as real life."

Executives said they considered a number of options, including canceling the show.

"This is a business," analyst Steve Sternberg of the ad-buying firm Magna Global USA said of the network's decision. But it's a risky one, he said.

"Initially, the show could benefit from the publicity," Sternberg said. "But they will have to do it well. If they don't, it could flop quickly and ABC will look bad doing it.""

-------
I think this was the right thing to do. The show should still go on. I will still miss Ritter.



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gargs
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Since: 27.8.02
From: The OC

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#2 Posted on
I'm glad they quickly struck down the idea of replacing someone who is irreplaceable, even in death.

Question - was the ABC News tribute last night? (If so, I'm upset that I didn't know this earlier.)



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Since: 27.2.03
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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.98
    Originally posted by gargs
    I'm glad they quickly struck down the idea of replacing someone who is irreplaceable, even in death.

    Question - was the ABC News tribute last night? (If so, I'm upset that I didn't know this earlier.)


Yeah, it was. I TiVo'd it (haven't seen it yet, though), so I can send you a copy of it if you'd like...



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Big Bad
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Since: 4.1.02
From: Dorchester, Ontario

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.54
I think this is a terrible idea. Ritter carried the entire show, and they think they can just move on without him? What's it doing to be called, Widowed With Children?



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Torchslasher
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Since: 17.1.02
From: New F'n Jersey

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.44
    Originally posted by Big Bad
    I think this is a terrible idea. Ritter carried the entire show, and they think they can just move on without him? What's it doing to be called, Widowed With Children?


I agree 100 percent. "Everybody recognizes that John loved that show. ... He'd have wanted the show to continue..."

Oh bullshit. I'm sure John didn't have time to actually tell them that if he dies, he would want the show to go on. And since they didn't ask him, it's foolish to just speak for Ritter like this.

And the idea to write the death into the show is awful and will spell an end to the show pretty quickly. They should have cancelled production of the show, instead of using the real death for a fictional storyline. This is just as tasteless as continuing the PPV after Owen died.




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EddieBurkett
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Since: 3.1.02
From: GA in person, NJ in heart

Since last post: 13 days
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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.37
If someone actually came out and said, "If I die, I want the show to stop," wouldn't we consider them a bit arrogant? Ritter may have been the focus of the show, but he wasn't the only person involved with the show. Sure, the actors and crew will all rebound, but is it right for them to spontaneously become unemployed? How would you feel if your boss died and the result was you lost your job? How would you feel if you found out that if you died, all your co-workers would lose their jobs?* These are positions no one should be put in, and its a shame that that happens.

This is different than Owen, because Owen died in the middle of the performance, in front of a crowd. ABC has the luxury of selecting when and how to continue. Vince had to decide whether to follow the script or cancel the event instantly.

Series have continued without leading actors before, for less important reasons. (Contract disputes resulting in "Valerie" becoming "Valerie's Family" becoming "The Hogan Family".) The show's survival now is a testament to the remaining actors and the writers and how they handle this unfortunate situation.

If Ritter was even half as nice as his obituaries have made him out to be, I don't see how he could not want the show to continue.

--------------

*I am currently unemployed, so my opinion regarding steady employment is probably biased.

I also didn't watch the show much beyond flipping over during commercials of Buffy, and would feel somewhat uncomfortable watching the unaired episodes, and I think ABC has a very fine line to walk when airing those shows to avoid appearing disrespectful and crass.



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Torchslasher
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Since: 17.1.02
From: New F'n Jersey

Since last post: 19 days
Last activity: 6 hours
#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.44
    Originally posted by EddieBurkett
    If someone actually came out and said, "If I die, I want the show to stop," wouldn't we consider them a bit arrogant? Ritter may have been the focus of the show, but he wasn't the only person involved with the show. Sure, the actors and crew will all rebound, but is it right for them to spontaneously become unemployed? How would you feel if your boss died and the result was you lost your job? How would you feel if you found out that if you died, all your co-workers would lose their jobs?* These are positions no one should be put in, and its a shame that that happens.

    This is different than Owen, because Owen died in the middle of the performance, in front of a crowd. ABC has the luxury of selecting when and how to continue. Vince had to decide whether to follow the script or cancel the event instantly.

    Series have continued without leading actors before, for less important reasons. (Contract disputes resulting in "Valerie" becoming "Valerie's Family" becoming "The Hogan Family".) The show's survival now is a testament to the remaining actors and the writers and how they handle this unfortunate situation.

    If Ritter was even half as nice as his obituaries have made him out to be, I don't see how he could not want the show to continue.

    --------------

    *I am currently unemployed, so my opinion regarding steady employment is probably biased.

    I also didn't watch the show much beyond flipping over during commercials of Buffy, and would feel somewhat uncomfortable watching the unaired episodes, and I think ABC has a very fine line to walk when airing those shows to avoid appearing disrespectful and crass.


I am talking about the head of ABC television talking as if he knows what Ritter wanted. Of course it wouldn't be PC to tell people to stop production of a show if you died, but I wouldn't want them to presuppose anything about what I would have wanted. I would hope they honor me, not use my death to build fake storyline fodder for my old series.

I wouldn't advocate just firing all the other actors either. They could use all the same actors and just change the setting and situations and name the show something else. I just don't like using a real death for this show.

I was equating the Owen situation moreso to the person in charge's (ABC; Vince McMahon) later reasonings to "He would have wanted us to continue." Sorry for not clarifying this. No matter what the timeframe is, I think the wrong choice was made in Vince's case and is being made by ABC.









Molly, Stacy and Daffney all in WWE? I suddenly lost all my will to complain about anything regarding the WWE. Hope I don't lose my street cred for this.

TS, the greatest Wiener rated 6.1554 ever to live!! Oops, I mean 5.5...4.5?? Oh, dammit! I guess Notorious FAB was right.
EddieBurkett
Boudin blanc








Since: 3.1.02
From: GA in person, NJ in heart

Since last post: 13 days
Last activity: 53 min.
#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.37
    Originally posted by Torchslasher
    I would hope they honor me, not use my death to build fake storyline fodder for my old series.

    I wouldn't advocate just firing all the other actors either. They could use all the same actors and just change the setting and situations and name the show something else. I just don't like using a real death for this show.

    I was equating the Owen situation moreso to the person in charge's (ABC; Vince McMahon) later reasonings to "He would have wanted us to continue." Sorry for not clarifying this. No matter what the timeframe is, I think the wrong choice was made in Vince's case and is being made by ABC.








Its not unheard of to integrate a real death into a show before. I think the show was called "Love and War" (w/ Jay Thomas and Annie Potts) where the bartender died, and they did an episode as a tribute to him, and afterwards introduced Mac from Night Court as the new bartender. Heck, speaking of bartenders, what about Coach on Cheers?

I can see where the concept of using Ritter's real death as a *storyline* can cause a problem, but what other option do they have? Its the most logical way to write him out. I see what you are saying about effectively using the same staff and production crews to make a similar show, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were contractual issues among the network and studio and cast/staff that could make such a change too costly from a time standpoint. I'd expect that as the show develops without Ritter, the situations will change, as you suggest, but it happens gradually. For the weekly viewer, anything more rapid might be a bit jarring.

Maybe I'm being naive, but I don't think the network is thinking, "lets write Ritter's death into the show as a story arc to boost ratings." The problem is that from a story standpoint, where you had a family of a father, a mother, two daughters and a son, you now have a mother and three kids. They have to address what happened to the father, and that in and of itself will provide impetus for change. They are not *using* Ritter's death as much as they are reacting to it.

I agree that when authority uses the rationale, "he would have wanted us to continue," its really just their way of justifying that they want to continue for other (read financial) reasons. It'd be better if what "he" wanted never came up, and I think its one of those things that people think they are supposed to say in those situations when really they shouldn't say anything.





Low tide for the time being.
Spaceman Spiff
Knackwurst








Since: 2.1.02
From: Philly Suburbs

Since last post: 37 days
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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.05

    Its not unheard of to integrate a real death into a show before. I think the show was called "Love and War" (w/ Jay Thomas and Annie Potts) where the bartender died, and they did an episode as a tribute to him, and afterwards introduced Mac from Night Court as the new bartender. Heck, speaking of bartenders, what about Coach on Cheers?

And, of course, "NewsRadio" did the same thing.



Broncolanche
Sujuk








Since: 2.6.03
From: Littleton, CO

Since last post: 1192 days
Last activity: 444 days
#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.64
    Originally posted by EddieBurkett
    Maybe I'm being naive, but I don't think the network is thinking, "lets write Ritter's death into the show as a story arc to boost ratings."


Whether or not it's ABC's intention, that's exactly what will happen.

(edited by Broncolanche on 18.9.03 1016)


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OlFuzzyBastard
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Since: 28.4.02
From: Pittsburgh, PA

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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.77
    Originally posted by Spaceman Spiff

      Its not unheard of to integrate a real death into a show before. I think the show was called "Love and War" (w/ Jay Thomas and Annie Potts) where the bartender died, and they did an episode as a tribute to him, and afterwards introduced Mac from Night Court as the new bartender. Heck, speaking of bartenders, what about Coach on Cheers?

    And, of course, "NewsRadio" did the same thing.


So did Sesame Street.



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fuelinjected
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Since: 12.10.02
From: Canada

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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.15

People will never be happy in these situations. If they replaced him, all these people with the John Ritter hyberbole would complain that he's irreplaceable. Now they kill the character off, and people complain that it's in poor taste.

If Ritter was the be all and end all of the show, it will fail without him and be off the air. Everyone working on the show deserves a chance to try and produce a good show without him.
ges7184
Lap cheong








Since: 7.1.02
From: Birmingham, AL

Since last post: 72 days
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#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.28
I think it's a bad idea simply because I don't think it will work, and thus its a waste of money. I think they would be better off taking the cast and crew and trying to develop a totally brand new show instead of trying to keep running on the fumes of this one. It will definately get a boost in ratings, particularily off Ritter's last three shows, but once that is done, unless they get considerably better writing and acting than the remaining cast and writers have shown in the past, it will die. My guess is it won't last the season. The only reason this show is continuing in the first place is it's one of the few hits ABC actually has, and they are too desperate to give it up.

This is not necessarily in bad taste, nor should a show just die because a cast member dies, but this was not just any cast member. This would be the equivalent of Ted Danson dying as opposed to the bartender. Or Harry Anderson dying as opposed to the bailiff(s). In fact, didn't Newsradio pretty much fall apart after Phil Hartman's death? Some actors/characters are a whole lot more important to making a show go than others. In this case, Ritter was the show.

So they can ahead and try. I don't think its offensive (though I'm with torchslasher, I hate it when people try to speak on behalf of the dead too). I just don't think it has much of a shot of actually working.



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Since: 17.6.02
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina

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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.86
UNITED WE STAND

You guys can argue about whether or not Ritter would've wanted the show to continue, but when his wife says he would've, I believe her more than anyone else. So since Amy Yasbeck has come out and said he would, then I think it's the right decision.





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